I just received word this afternoon that the state Ethics Commission (or, as they shall henceforth be known to me, the Ethically Challenged Commission) has cleared Sen. Dwayne Umbarger (R-Thayer) of any issues regarding his funny campaign finance reports. Umbarger is Chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee.
Umbarger filed finance reports in late July for the primary election cycle where he showed using campaign funds to build a carport. He claimed that the expense was valid because he needed a place to store his campaign materials. However, photos taken of the new building showed only half walls with the bottom portion open to the elements and, surprise surprise, no campaign materials.
Umbarger’s finance report also shows quite a bit of funny money being spent with hundreds of dollars spent on fuel within a two or three day time period. His October filing shows multiple reimbursements for the fuel because of a Commission advisory that the expenditures were illegal, issued back in 2007, before his purchases.
I guess it’s okay to break the law as long as you fix it…sometime. I’m curious what the statutes say about how long you have to break a campaign finance law without ‘fixing it’ before there’s action on the part of the Commission.
What hasn’t been answered is how the information about the closed investigation got out in the first place. Neither the Commission or the candidate being investigated is supposed to speak publicly during an investigation, but I’m not sure what restrictions there are after an investigation has ended.
How does the state of Kansas benefit by having an unelected Commission decide who’s fined and who isn’t? How do citizens benefit from closed door hearings and dismissal of relevant charges?
What does the future of our state budget look like if the Senate Ways and Means chairman can’t even be honest about the commingling of his personal and campaign accounts?
Kansas Meadowlark: Did Senator Umbarger violate ethics rules buying a carport with campaign money? Umbarger clairvoyant?
Kansas Liberty: New campaign finance charges leveled against Umbarger
Kansas Liberty: Primary opponent says Umbarger violated campaign finance law
Kansas Liberty: Umbarger yields to ethics pressure, repays fund